John Deere acquires autonomous tractor startup Bear Flag Robotics

The company, which is situated in the Bay Area and specializes in autonomous agricultural heavy gear, was formed in 2017.

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In the realm of robotic companies, the acquisition is frequently as beneficial as any other outcome. The agricultural technology behemoth said today that it will pay $250 million for Bear Flag Robotics.

The company, which is situated in the Bay Area and specializes in autonomous agricultural heavy gear, was formed in 2017. Bear Flag Robotics initially came to John Deere’s attention the following year, as a member of the YC Winter 2018 cohort.

“We took a tour of an orchard and saw how severe the labor situation is,” said co-founder Aubrey Donnellan. “They’re having trouble filling tractor seats. We spoke with other California farmers. The Company kept hearing the same thing: labor is one of the most painful parts of the pregnancy. Quality labor is extremely difficult to come by. The workforce is getting older. They are leaving the nation and entering other industries.” 

John Deere hired Bear Flag Robotics

In the intervening years, John Deere hired Bear Flag for its own Startup Collaborator project. In addition, the robotics company has begun to deploy its technology to an unspecified (“limited,” as they put it) number of places in the United States.

Deere & Company, an American business that makes agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, diesel engines, drivetrains (axles, transmissions, gearboxes) used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment, is known as John Deere. It was rated 87th in the Fortune 500 America rating in 2019 and 329th in the worldwide ranking. In addition, the firm offers financial services and other associated services.

“One of the most significant difficulties farmers face today is a lack of trained personnel to carry out time-sensitive procedures that affect farming output. “Autonomy provides a safe and productive option to confronting that problem front on,” says co-founder and CEO Igino Cafiero in a press statement. “Bear Flag’s mission to increase global food production and reduce the cost of growing food through machine automation is aligned with Deere’s, and we’re excited to join the Deere team to bring autonomy to more farms.” 

Agriculture in robotics has seen a surge in interest in the last year, owing to labor shortages that predated but were exacerbated by the global pandemic. Of all, just because you’re interested doesn’t mean you’re immune to the challenges of establishing a robotics business.

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Bear Flag Robotics

Bear Flag Robotics, headquartered in San Francisco’s East Bay, was founded four years ago by Donnellan and Igino Cafiero. The business creates autonomous technology for agricultural tractors, including the hardware, sensors, actuators, and software that sits on top of the machine and provides situational awareness. Bear Flag Robotics was created with the goal of lowering the cost of food production while boosting the global food supply using automation technologies.

It developed world-class autonomous technologies for agricultural equipment. Despite their technological advances, the company recognizes that the growers they partner with are looking for value, not technology. Bear Flag aspires to provide the future generation of producers with safe, productive, and efficient agricultural operations.

Abundant, an apple-picking robotics business, announced its closure last month, stating that “after a series of encouraging commercial trials with prototype apple harvesters, the company was unable to obtain enough investment funds to continue research and deploy a production system.”

For a firm like Bear Flag, an acquisition appears to be a realistic result. The startup receives a large amount of money from its big new owner, and the new owner adds some new technology to its portfolio. Indeed, in recent years, John Deere has been aggressively seeking to grow into more cutting-edge technology such as robots and drones. Bear Flag will continue to operate throughout the Bay Area.

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